Last year saw British comics imprint Breakdown Press launch their own free-to-attend comics festival, Safari. Intended to be a showcase for the new wave of alternative and art comics in the UK and beyond, the festival returns this August, taking place on Saturday the 22nd, from 11am - 6pm at the Protein Gallery in Shoreditch, London (the same location as last year). The festival is curated by Breakdown Press, who aim to present a group of the very best cartoonists, printmakers and publishers the UK has to offer; those with an 'innovative, fearless, diverse approaches to making comics,' -approaches Safari hopes to champion whilst providing attendees the opportunity to experience the quality and range of UK alt comics.
This year’s exhibitors include: Anti Ghost Studio (Babak Ganjei, Rob Flowers, Tim Stevens), Breakdown Press (Joe Kessler,Antoine Cossé, Richard Short, Zoë Taylor), Calm & Collected Studio, Comic Book Slumber Party, Comics Workbook (Will Tempest, Liam Cobb, Tom Kemp), Decadence Comics (Lando, Stathis Tsemberlidis), Donya Todd, Eleni Kalorkoti, Esther McManus, Eyeball Comix, Famicon Express (Leon Sadler, Stefan Sadler, Jon Chandler), Faye Coral Johnson, Good Press, Grace Wilson, Isaac Lenkiewicz, James Jarvis, Jazz Dad Books, Joseph P Kelly, Kus!, Landfill Editions, Laura Callaghan, Marijpol, Matt Swan, Mike Redmond, Mothership, Nous Vous, One Beat Zines, Otto Press, Sina Sparrow, Treasure Fleet (Aisha Franz, Sharmila Banerjee), and Will Sweeney.
And I'm pleased to share for the first time further guests who will also be in attendance: Shaky Kane, Becca Tobin, Crumb Cabin, Grafik, Marie Jacotey, Simon Moreton, Retrofit Comics (represented by Simon Moreton, also in attendance will be Jack Teagle and Antoine Cosse), Belly Kids, Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives, Arts Emergency, and DIY Space for London. That's a very strong line-up, with more than plenty to engage and interest.
I'm pretty gutted about not being able to make it down, but the train tickets from Leeds to London are simply too expensive to afford, especially coming on top of TCAF and ELCAF in succession. Safari sounds like exactly the kind of more alternative and avant garde comics-focused festival I've been hoping to see in the UK, now that we have a healthy number of events dotted around the country- and it's free to attend, as well. Last year's event was a success from the various reports I read, and I hope that continues- if only so I can make it down in 2016! You can keep abreast of any further announcements and details via the Safari Festival website.